Q. 1. How does the so called ‘just and placid’ King of Melon City land himself into a difficult situation ?
Ans. The King of Melon City proclaimed to construct an arch, spanning the main thoroughfare. Soon, the arch was constructed. One day the King was riding down the thoroughfare. His, Crown struck against the arch and fell off. The King felt dishonoured and decided to hang the chief of builders. The chief of builders put the blame on the labourers. The King decided to hang all the labourers. The labourers found fault with the size of the bricks. The King summoned the masons but they lay the blame on the architect. The King ordered to hang the architect. The architect reminded the King that he had made certain amendments to the plans when they were shown to him. The King found himself in a difficult situation as the architect held him responsible for the mishap. He was utterly confused. Being a just and placid King, he could not deny the charge.
Q. 2. How did the King try to get out of the difficult situation ? Did he succeed ?
Ans. The King found himself in a difficult situation after hearing the architect’s arguments. He said that it was an intricate matter and he needed someone’s advice. He ordered to bring him the wisest man in the country. The wisest man was found and brought to the Royal Court. He said that the arch was the real culprit. It impudently hit the crown which fell off. So, the arch must be hanged. Suddenly, a councillor said that it would be a very shameful act to hang the arch that touched His Majesty’s head. It seemed true to the King. He was at a loss what to do. Meanwhile, he saw the crowd was getting restless and they wanted a hanging. So, he declared that someone must be hanged. The noose was set up. It was somewhat high. Each man was measured turn by turn. But there was only one man who was tall enough to fit in the noose and it was the King. His Majesty was, therefore, hanged by Royal Decree.
Q. 3. What do think makes ‘The Tale of Melon City’ interesting and edifying ?
Ans. According to the title, the poem tells a story about Melon City—a city named after its ruler. It is quite interesting and edifying to learn how the country got a melon as its ruler. In short it was on account of customary choice. The people relate the story of a just and placid King who was hanged by his own Royal Decree. What the King did for the people and how he held the trials of the accused both are quite amusing. The clever arguments of the accused to save their lives are equally interesting. The King feels the pulse of the people who want to see a hanging. He knows how mischievous an angry mob can be and hence orders that someone must be hanged immediately. The irony of the situation is that the King is tall enough to fit the noose. The practical minded ministers resort to the age old custom of choosing the next ruler. The idiot’s idiotic choice is approved of in the name of custom. The people are indifferent to the fact that their ruler is a Melon not a man. The behaviour of pragmatic ministers and equally selfish, foolish and mean people seems quite funny and interesting. It is instructive too. A wise man should avoid the company of fools.
Q. 4. “Mockery is found in the process of fair trial and proper judgement”. Comment.
Ans. In the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’ mockery is seen in the age-old custom of delivering justice by word of mouth of the Kings. There was a time when the King’s word was considered divine and whatever he uttered was law. A just and placid King was expected to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. However, the process of trial and the over-changing judgements mocks at the whole process of fair trials and considered awards. This is proved from the statements of the accused who try to save their lives by holding others responsible for the guilt. The King’s capriciousness and inability to see through the thin veil of their arguments make him an object of ridicule rather than a dispenser of divine justice.
Q. 5. Justify the title of the poem, “The Tale of Melon City”.
Ans. The poem ‘The Tale of Melon City” has a quite significant ending. It has a direct bearing on the title. The end reveals that the incidents took place, long ago. It throws light on the old custom of the state to choose their ruler. Confronted with the dilemma, the ministers took the easy way out. The person who passed the City Gate was to name the next King. It was a chance for an idiot who gave the standard answer ‘a melon’ to every question. Therefore, the melon was crowned the King, carried to the throne and respectfully set down there. The people are not at all ashamed to have a melon as their King. They say that if he rejoices in being a melon, that’s all right with them. They find no fault with him as long as he leaves them to enjoy their peace, freedom and free trade. The capital city is called Melon City after the King.